April 3, 2008 at 8:51 am
It’s Girl Scout cookie time and I have yet to eat a Thin Mint or a Samoa or a Tagalong. (Mmmm, Tagalongs.) I wish I could only buy a couple cookies at a time because I don’t trust myself with an entire box. I’m trying to visualize a world in which I only eat 2 or 3 crunchy cookies of mint chocolate goodness a day even though there’s a whole box sitting in my cupboard. Honestly, it’s easier to imagine a world where Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama bake Girl Scout cookies together while singing Eminem songs. As unlikely as the second scenario is, I can actually imagine it in my head. The first situation, not so much.
Which brings me back to the idea of food addiction, something I’ve been pondering on and off the past couple months ever since I read that book, Hungry by Allen Zadoff. I’m still not sure what to make of the concept of food addiction, though Zadoff is a firm believer in it. However, reading that book did make me start analyzing my relationship with food more critically.
For instance, I went to a holiday gathering recently for Easter. Immediately after I finished lunch I started thinking, “When are they going to serve the dessert? When are they going to serve the dessert? Is it dessert time yet? I’ll help serve if we can eat it now!” I had run for 60 minutes that morning and purposely eaten a smaller portion of lunch just so I could try some of the brownies and banana crème pie and snickerdoodles. So, I really wanted to dig into the sugar, but I had to wait until everyone else was done with lunch. As I fidgeted on the couch waiting for someone to unwrap the cookies, I wondered if anyone else was getting as crazy waiting for dessert as I was, or if there was some weird mechanism triggered in my brain making me want food more than other people do.
Then, after dessert was finally served, I wasn’t satisfied until I’d tried one of everything. I’d grab a slice of chocolate frosted cake, sit down and eat it. Then a couple minutes went by and I decided I needed to try the cherry cheesecake too. Then another 10 minutes went by and I grabbed some M&M cookies, because if there is a table full of sugar in the room, I can’t stop thinking about it. I vaguely started to wish I had diabetes like one of the other people there, because as sleepy as I feel after eating sweets, I wouldn’t eat as much if it meant I’d literally fall into a cheesecake coma.
At which point, I realized I was psycho.
I don’t want diabetes! Diabetes sucks! I feel like I’m going to barf whenever I have to give blood. If I had to choose between being a cheesecake whore and sticking myself with a needle every couple hours to measure my blood sugar, I’m going to be the dairy slut.
I also noticed that other people tended to graze on the food simply because it was there, sitting a couple feet in front of them, as if sugar has telepathic, mind control abilities that it uses to commit suicide in your stomach. So, I have to wonder if I actually have an addiction or if it’s just human nature to want to eat yummy food the longer you are locked in a room with it. If you’re locked in a room with a foxy member of the opposite sex, you don’t have to be a sex addict to want to jump his/her bones.
After I had tried everything, I reached a point where I wasn’t stuffed, but I was full and I was okay with not eating anything more at the table. Despite any craziness in my thinking earlier, that feeling makes me lean back towards the idea that I do not have a food addiction. There are also times when people leave cookies out at work or at friends houses, and I am perfectly fine not having any. I’m not tempted, I don’t drive myself crazy thinking in circles about it. It’s not a big deal.
When I think about other types of addiction, I think about all the crazy stuff people do for a fix. I think of the movie Traffic where Michael Douglas’s daughter goes from being an upright, little school girl to a crack whore stoned in her pimp’s drug lair. Which makes me wonder, if Ben and Jerry’s ice cream were illegal in the same way that crack is illegal, what would I do to score a fix of Chunky Monkey? Would I whore myself out on the corner and meet a frizzy-haired ex-Girl-Scout leader in a back alley to score a box of Samoas? I can’t picture myself doing any of those things, but if you asked most junkies the same question before they became junkies they probably couldn’t imagine it either. I probably would indulge in some illegal behavior from time to time to score some Oreo ice cream. Does that make me an addict? I don’t think so. However, my relationship with food is definitely a little bit wonky. I’m not sure if I completely understand it or if I ever will. Thankfully, though, I can’t get arrested for pigging out on a box of Thin Mints.